By Dennis Bolshakov, College of Wooster ’19
I am a biology major from The College of Wooster in Ohio, United States, and I am currently with the OTS Tropical Biology semester in Costa Rica. Even though I study in Ohio, I am well-acquainted with rainforests, since I come from the temperate rainforest region in Washington State. However, the Costa Rican tropics are very different. They blew my mind, and every new site continues to do so, with its unique flora, fauna, and atmosphere in general.
The Palo Verde wetland and surrounding dry forest had many bird species that I never imagined before seeing them, such as tiny jacana birds that wade through the water hyacinths.
In Cuerici, I felt the cold of the tropical highlands, and encountered a resplendent quetzal, small alligator lizards, and trout (although the last one was at a farm).
At Las Cruces Biological Station and Wilson gardens, I spotted a prism of different birds: from toucans to baby crested caracaras to parrots and tanagers. There also, we did two studies with the local wildlife: one with wandering spiders in the bromeliad garden, and the other with aquatic anoles in the forest streams. Both of those were quite an adventure, since we were right in the middle of the tropical storm that became hurricane Nate.
Overall, I have really enjoyed my time in Costa Rica. I have seen things I’ve never dreamed of seeing in the States, did things I would otherwise consider crazy (such as wading through a swollen stream amid mudslides and treefalls), and met really interesting people to boot.